Last week I reviewed an article looking closer at what women are physically attracted to (https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/what-women-are-physically-attracted-to-313/). This week, what men are physically attracted to with women will be examined. Like last week, the goals of this article are to 1) help encourage women to accept that their own looks matter and to moderately—not obsessively—work on improving them accordingly (as reasonably possible), and 2) help men identify and validate what specific traits they find to be most attractive in women, and to embrace the reality that female looks matter and need to be factored in. Too often, men are told at church or elsewhere that her looks theoretically don’t or shouldn’t really matter much, but yet they do. Looks are the main thing that breaks a woman out of the “friend zone”, establishing chemistry, spark, and excitement in a relationship.
So, be familiar with these attractors, and balance these traits in with other important factors, such as interpersonal skills, spirituality, and other practical factors when making relationship decisions. It all matters. The research-based factors below are primarily related to westernized ideas for female beauty, especially in the United States. Results will vary to a degree across cultures, but these are still pretty reliable, universal traits.
Research-based traits men find attractive in women:
*General attractors to men:
Research indicates that heterosexual men tend to be attracted to young and beautiful women with bodily symmetry. Rather than decreasing it, modern society today has only increased the emphasis men place on women's looks, such as through television, movies, and online. Evolutionary psychologists attribute such attraction to an evaluation of fertility potential in a prospective mate.
*Facial/eye features: Facial symmetry has been shown to be considered attractive in women, and men have been found to prefer full lips, high forehead, broad face, small chin, small nose, short and narrow jaw, high cheekbones, clear and smooth skin, and wide-set eyes. The shape of the face in terms of "how everything hangs together" is an important determinant of beauty. Women with thick, dark limbal rings in their eyes have also been found to be more attractive. The explanation given is that because the ring tends to fade with age and medical problems, a prominent limbal ring gives an honest indicator of youth. An example from research of an ideal looking female face in these ways is both Jessica Alba or Angelina Jolie.
*Breasts: Research has shown that most heterosexual men enjoy the sight of female breasts, with a preference for medium to large sized, firm breasts. Cross-culturally, another study found "high variability" regarding the ideal breast size. Some researchers in the United Kingdom have speculated that a preference for larger breasts may have developed in Western societies because women with larger breasts tend to have higher levels of the hormones estradiol and progesterone, which both promote fertility.
Men's judgements of breast appearance is also affected by the occurrence of breast ptosis (i.e., sagginess, droopiness). Greater breast ptosis (more sagging breasts) is perceived as less attractive and attributed to a woman of older age. These findings coincide with previous research that link breast attractiveness with female youthfulness. Unlike breast size, breast ptosis seems to be a universal marker of female breast attractiveness. Furthermore, a study showed that men prefer symmetrical breasts. Breast symmetry may be particularly sensitive to developmental disturbances and the symmetry differences for breasts are large compared to other body parts. Women who have more symmetrical breasts tend to have more children.
*Buttocks (butt): Research shows that men tend to prefer a "fleshy, rounded buttocks", and that that the slight thrusting out of a woman's back influences how attractive others perceive her to be and captures the gaze of both men and women. The theory is that the female "buttocks evolved in the context of females competing for the attention and parental commitment of powerful resource-controlling males" as an "honest display of fat reserves" that could not be confused with another type of tissue. Also, that female fatty deposits on the hips supposedly improve "individual fitness of the female", regardless of sexual selection.
Body mass: Body Mass Index (BMI) is an important determinant to the perception of beauty. Even though the Western ideal is for a “thin” woman (BMI 20-25), some cultures prefer plumper women, which has been argued to support that attraction for a particular BMI merely is a cultural artifact. The attraction for a proportionate body also influences an appeal for erect posture. Availability of food influences which female body size is attractive which may have evolutionary reasons. Societies with food scarcities prefer larger female body size than societies that have plenty of food, such as in the United States. In Western society males who are hungry prefer a larger female body size than they do when not hungry.
*Waist–hip ratio: A WHR of 0.7 (smaller waist, bigger hips) for women has been shown to correlate strongly with general health and fertility. Women within the 0.7 range have optimal levels of estrogen and are less susceptible to major diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and ovarian cancers. Female waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) has been proposed by evolutionary psychologists to be an important component of human male mate choice, because this trait is thought to provide a reliable cue to a woman's reproductive value.
*Feet size: According to some studies, most men prefer women with smaller feet. However, foot size is usually lower on the list of male attractors compared to other traits.
*Hair: Men have been found to prefer long-haired women. An evolutionary psychology explanation for this is that malnutrition and deficiencies in minerals and vitamins causes loss of hair or hair changes. Hair status therefore indicates health and nutrition during the last 2–3 year period of a woman. Lustrous hair is also often desired as a cross-cultural preference.
*Fertility-driven attractiveness: There are some subtle changes in women's perceived attractiveness across the menstrual cycle. During their most fertile phase, some changes in women's behavior and physiology have been observed. This suggests that women either are physically more attractive during ovulation phase, and/or they experience a significant change in their behavior that creates more attractiveness. More caring and flirtatious faces occur more often during the follicular phase (ovulation), suggesting that subtle shape differences in faces occurring during this phase attract men more. In addition, women in the ovulatory phase are flirtier with males showing greater genetic fitness markers than in low fertile phase. It has been shown in some studies that women high in estrogen are generally perceived to be more attractive than women with low levels of estrogen, based on women not wearing make-up. High estrogen level women may also be viewed as healthier or to have a more feminine face.
The point of this article is to not to make any women feel bad or insecure about themselves. The goal is to clarify, validate, and explain why men find women attractive from a sheerly physical standpoint, because that goes into their decision making to date or not. Female looks matters for his feelings of chemistry, spark, and butterflies. It helps to break a woman out of the friendzone. It helps ignite and maintain passion and electricity. Men, please balance physical attraction with other important factors when choosing a lady. The problems with this subject come when either overly or underly emphasizing the degree men are physically attracted to a woman. Please factor this trait in, just don’t ignore it or overly emphasize it like that it’s all that matters. Health lies in the moderate balance on this issue. Avoid the extremes and you will do well with this subject.
And women, please simply be aware that physical attraction does matter to men, especially regarding initial attraction and being given initial dating opportunities. Yet, this factor isn’t everything. Ignore or neglect working on this area to your own dating/relationship detriment. Regularly and moderately working to improve yourself in this area will increase your dating opportunities and your overall relational stock. Please do so.
And for everyone, please remember that physical attraction is given by the Lord, is powerful, and is the way it was meant to be to help bring couples together. As said in the Old Testament, “…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”—I Samuel 16:7 We were built this way for a reason by the Lord. Physical attraction helps bring us together. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:1.
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).